Brown Unveils Proposal for California EPA To Reform Proposition 65
On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) proposed a plan for the California Environmental Protection Agency to reform Proposition 65, a measure that aims to protect residents from harmful chemicals, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports (Peterson, "KPCC News," KPCC, 5/7).
Details of Prop. 65
Prop. 65 requires manufacturers, retailers and property owners to post warning signs if goods or premises are contaminated with chemicals known to cause birth defects or cancer (Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 5/8).
Under Prop. 65, lawyers can bring claims against businesses that knowingly expose residents to toxic chemicals identified by state law.
Since 2008, lawyers have filed more than 2,000Â of such claimsÂ ("KPCC News," KPCC, 5/7).
Reason for Seeking Reforms
While supporters of the law say that it has helped pressure businesses to remove tainted goods or reformulate them with safer ingredients, critics argue that it has allowed lawyers seeking lucrative settlements to file claims against businesses that have done nothing wrong.
In a statement, Brown said, "Proposition 65 is a good law that's helped many people, but it's being abused by unscrupulous lawyers." He added, "This is an effort to improve the law so it can do what it was intended to do -- protect Californians from harmful chemicals" (Los Angeles Times, 5/8).
Matthew Rodriguez -- California EPA secretary -- said that the law has allowed "abusive" profit-seeking lawsuits and must be reworked (White, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 5/7).
Details of Brown's Plan
TheÂ reforms in Brown's plan include:
- Limiting attorney's fees;
- Requiring plaintiffs to present more information supporting their allegations;
- Reconsidering levels of cancer-causing chemicals to better reflect their health risk; and
- Offering the public more details about the exposure to harmful chemicals that they face and ways to avoid it.
The plan would require two-thirds approval in both the Assembly and the Senate.It faces opposition from numerous environmental groups (Los Angeles Times, 5/8). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.